you don't always need wings to fly

i am who i am and that's all i wish to be

Changes on the Wind
Seraphim: geek
fvinnash
I have been unemployed for more than 6 months now. Only a few weeks of that was ... relaxed. The truth is, the state of employment in the US, and Oregon specifically, is bad. An example of a response I received from one of the few places I was called in to interview:

Thank you for your time for the interview. You were one of the top 4 candidates out of 325
candidates for the position. However, we have selected a candidate that did have the most
skills that matched our needs.

Good luck to you on your job search.

That position was for a receptionist at a music corporation who would double in some website maintenance and customer service needs. It was ~ 40 minute commute /without/ an option for public transportation (in a very industrial part of NE Portland/Gresham) and the offering pay was $10/hr. To give you an idea, Oregon's minimum wage is currently $8.50/hr. One of the requirements of the position was a college degree.

I had applied to a veterinary rehabilitation clinic, who was offering $12/hr for an experienced CVT (which is actually the starting wage for a CVT right out of school). The hiring manager was interested in the rehabilitation experience I had at Kirkwood (our class was involved in a surgery rehabilitation for a 6-month-old Great Pyranese puppy). She was impressed because she told me most candidates have no experience with rehabilitation at *all*. Attempts to negotiate a higher (you know, fair) salary lost me any possible consideration by the hiring manager. When I called to ask on the status of my application (she said she was going to call me 2 weeks prior for a working interview), I was told, and I quote: "We haven't decided yet if we want you or not." I saw the same position posted no less than 3 times over the course of the next month. I informed them I was still interested (despite misgivings by how uncommunicative and unreliable the hiring manager was starting to seem), and was told (aka: insulted AGAIN):

While you are a very qualified vet tech, I have had and continue to receive
resumes from candidates with more extensive experience in working with animals
in need of rehabilitation. I still have your resume and will consider your
application should an opening occur that is more appropriate to your skills.
Thank you for contacting us again.

I applied, and was subsequently rejected, for so many positions that I began dreading opening any unread emails in Evolution, just *knowing* it was going to be another "You're not qualified enough to answer phones." response. And, invariably, it was.

Meanwhile, my hearing issues were causing direct difficulties in interviewing (I was having difficulties hearing some of the interviewers) and any appointments with an audiologist to discuss hearing aids were at *least* a month out, with another at *least* 2 week waiting period for hearing aids to arrive. Acupuncture and chinese herbs failed me. I tortured myself with a dairy elimination diet and showed no improvement with the tinnitus/hearing loss, though I found when I *reduced* dairy intake, I felt *better* physically. (As a side note, I've decided to reduce my dairy intake because that's apparently what my body requests.) Western medicine can't explain what's going on (other than it's an abnormal hearing loss pattern). I'm running out of options to figure out how to resolve the tinnitus and hearing loss, so now, I am trying to reconcile myself with compensating.

Then, I received a call to interview for a position with VetSource as an inside sales person. The position requires customer service skills, technical skills, and technical support skills all within a web environment (and on the phone). The position isn't to necessarily *sell* products, but to support the outside sales people when customers/clients need assistance, training, information and follow-up. Having a good background in veterinary medicine was a requirement. I adored the two people I interviewed with. While Kim was bouncy, high-energy, enthusiastic, honest and open, Essa was laid back, calm and inviting. Having experience in open source (I kid you not) *impressed* both of them to no end and is what made my resume stand out (aside from being a CVT). It felt like they were going to offer me the job before I left the building.

The next morning, I received a call from Kim asking for references. I provided them, but she had difficulty reaching 2 of them, so everything was put on hold until earlier this week. She provisionally offered me the position *very near* my asking wage (which was near the wage I was making at my last general hospital, which is MUCH higher than $12/hr) pending background check and drug screen. That makes sense. It's more or less a pharmaceutical company. If they *didn't* do background check and drug screen, I likely would've recommended it for any other incoming personnel. I also came to find out that the first reference she got ahold of didn't give me the glowing review the contact suggested to me that she gave me. So, lesson learned in that is to ensure you know *exactly* what your references are saying about you before having a potential employer call them.

As of yesterday, I have hearing aids. They're... weird. And with my itchy/irritable ears, sometimes weird isn't good. The nice thing is, I can hear pretty much everything. The bad thing is, everything is amplified sound. Most voices sound like they're being piped through a microphone/speaker (or, as I explained yesterday, like they are being heard through a stethoscope). Noises that didn't seem that bad before are now overwhelming (the garbage disposal, the toilet flushing, Steve yelling at other drivers). I was told that as a new user with an abnormal hearing loss pattern and a musician to boot, it's going to be very difficult to adjust the programming to fit my needs and make me feel... comfortable. I found that listening to conversations in a pub is *still* difficult, and I couldn't determine if I could hear people better or not with them in last night while at pub quiz.

So, apparently, I'm going into March and the promises of spring with changes of my own.

  1. Amplified hearing adjustment.

  2. New job, in the veterinary community, but not in a hospital, and still using my license.

  3. Slight diet changes that make my body feel better, including more vegetables in my diet, less dairy in my diet and reduced sweets intake (this one is hard).



And I need to make decisions on trips to Europe. I think a friend's wedding in Cambridge is the highest priority, and from there, we'll see if I can swing any others.

What I Want to do When I Grow Up
Seraphim: geek
fvinnash
I've been gainfully unemployed since July. Well, not so much gainful. More like painfully unemployed since July. The lengthy unemployment came due to a departure from my previous employer (to say simply, I was fired) over disagreements on "acceptable" staffing and duties. I shouldn't have been nearly as upset over the dismissal as I was. Honestly, there were a few issues that if we hadn't found an appropriate compromise, I was preparing myself to resign. But, a dismissal, no matter how flowerly given or no matter what benefits succeed the dismissal, a dismissal is painful. It's a clear declaration that your employer did not feel you were worth the effort of fixing perceived issues. If you resign, you take that decision into your own hands, but when an employer makes that decision for you, especially when you consider yourself loyal and dedicated, the pain is immense.

The dismissal I experienced was painful. I had protected my subordinates quietly in the shadows, and even took responsibility for one of the doctors who was going to be dismissed a year prior in an effort to save her job, clients who would be upset at her departure, and chaos that would have erupted as a result. Naturally, because of the politics behind those protections and responsibilities, nobody could know, but a very small number of people (namely myself and one or two others). Not the people who I was protecting, and certainly nobody else in the company. I regularly cut my hours to ensure those reporting to me had enough wages to pay for rent/groceries/whatever bills they had. I would schedule around little things they had going on in their lives without requiring time-off requests. When I was told to choose one of my subordinates to lay off during a business crisis, I found a way to keep her employed by the hospital - EVEN THOUGH she would no longer be in my department. She didn't know about that. She only saw a demotion without a pay cut (yes, I managed to keep her wage the same, too). When I finally built up the courage to lay out concerns and complaints I had, to call upon promises made by upper management months prior, and with a couple of plans on how to make things work, I was fired. I was simply not worth the effort of fixing perceived issues. And more than that, there was nobody - NOBODY - to protect me when I needed it.

It seems to me this is a common crisis in veterinary medicine. Technicians are difficult to hold on to and in constant demand (except when the economy tanks, apparently). Why can't veterinary hospitals hang on to their technicians? The job is emotionally, mentally and physically draining. Pay scales are above minimum wage, but comparable to much, much easier fields. Overtime is regularly frowned upon, but any one technician must be able to balance the workload of at least 2 people while being able to do the job of nearly anyone (except the veterinarian, of course) and never let anyone know you're drained or tapped. You are expected to give your all to every client who walks in the door (or calls on the phone or emails), but make sure you only do it within a certain time period, because you have other clients and duties to see to. You are expected to give your all to every patient, but make sure you do it in a timely manner so you can still answer phones, check in appointments, monitor/induce anesthesia, or prepare radiology. It's not the multi-tasking that wears on people, it's the constant barrage of high-priority duties while never taking a break, while always being mentally attuned to the environment, and not even flinching when you have more work than you can possibly do by yourself.

I was taught in school by MULTIPLE instructors that a well-run veterinary hospital has 2 technicians and 2 assistants per doctor. Apparently practice managers, the people making the human resources decisions, are taught that for every one doctor SHIFT, you need to ensure you have enough people to cover TWO SHIFTS. So, when you count it out, if you have 8 doctor shifts per week, that means you have 16 technician/assistant shifts available. If you have 4 people on 4-10 hour days, you're golden! Except, when you put it to paper and realize that 2 of those 4 people will NEVER have 2 days off in a row in any given week based on doctor availability, or 1 of those 4 people works 2 shifts as a kennel attendant, leaving you with 3 people to cover 2 doctors (1 in surgery and any technician appointments that come in), you're suddenly short-staffed. Only, it's not so sudden, and it's not short-term. This is one of many factors that can contribute to burn-out. And, in my case, has.

Finding a job in this economy has been painful. The unemployment rate in Oregon has been tragically high for the last few years, and has been gradually dipping. Is it because people are getting jobs? Possibly. Another possibility is the one I face in the next couple of weeks. Unemployment benefits are running out and I will no longer be able to claim. I've done everything that has been asked of me. Despite not wanting to return to veterinary medicine, I have applied for veterinary positions KNOWING FULL WELL I would take a pay cut and likely burn-out further and find a steeper decline into depression.

I managed to get an interview at one of the places I looked into, and they plan to pay what's considered a starting wage right out of school (with no experience and just having passed the boards, that is) despite being a specialty hospital, and couldn't give me clear answers on benefits or hours (other than I may be scheduled until 8, but expected to stay until well past 9, or may be expected to come in on the weekends on short notice, etc.). Still, I smiled, and remained engaged in the interview to the very end. I thought I had done well, even if they didn't. I was supposed to be called back within 3 days for a working interview. Since this time period fell over Christmas (and thus, New Year's), I gave them the benefit of the doubt and waited until after the new year to give them a call. I was told, and I quote, "We haven't decided yet if we want you or not." A quick glance at Craigslist confirmed that they had reposted the position. And an IM from a tech friend of mine let me know she was interviewing there that day.

This delivered a lesson to me with the force of a run-away freight train. Veterinary medicine, despite its cries and woes of being unable to attract and retain good technicians, does what it can to grind the people they get into the ground, then toss them aside when they're burned out or experiencing compassion fatigue to start over. Why? Because in this economy, where else are you going to go? You could be like me and spend 6 months looking for a job in or out of the veterinary community, and find NOTHING. I received a message that there were many qualified applicants, but only the most experienced would be interviewed FOR ANSWERING PHONES. No, I didn't get called to interview.

What do I want to do? Well, that's tricky. I'm not entirely sure at this point. I *want* to work in a field that either fully supports music, or is somehow involved in music. I *want* to use my customer service abilities that I've honed pretty well. I *want* to work somewhere where I'm encouraged to be creative, to grow and expand, to learn and somewhere that encourages me to give back to the company I'm working for. However, my technical skills are all over the board. I can type well, I have a pretty good attention to detail. I research very well, I write very well. I can handle customer disputes with ease, and I can keep conversations productive and moving forward. I LOVE to learn new skills and new trades, and I like doing things that are intellectually stimulating/challenging. I'm a problem solver, and if given a crisis or problem, I will work on it UNTIL IT'S SOLVED. If I'm given a task, that task WILL BE DONE. But, I can't market myself. I don't know what computer programs I know, because I simply sit down at the computer and DO IT. I don't know specifically what skillset I have because I just do what needs to be done, and research what I don't know how to do because it needs to be done, too.

I guess, I just want to work for someone who believes in me, and someone I believe in, with goals and philosophies I can stand behind. I want someone who will be flexible to allow me to attend things like DebConf and UDS, but also still be flexible for being involved in an orchestra or community musical. I want someone who will see me, see my skills, put them to good use, and help me build more skills. I want to work for a company that I'll feel happy working for for DECADES, not just a couple of years. I want to smile because I feel like smiling, not because it's expected that I smile at that customer/client. But, most of all, I want an employer whose goal isn't to grind me into the ground and toss me aside when I'm no longer needed or relevant. Where's my boss in shining armor?
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Anti-Harassment
Seraphim: geek
fvinnash
An awesome friend of mine recently co-authored and proposed an anti-harassment policy for use at open source conferences (or any technical-related conference, really). I thought this was a great idea, and to my delight, I'm starting to see Debian (and the DebConf team) run with it, and not just for conferences. (I can't take credit for any of it, regretfully, as they picked it up on their own, but I'm still very pleased to see it.)

I'm starting to realize that whether or not my situation is unique, I have been brought up with a very spoiled and privileged attitude. My family is *largely* matriarchal, with a few "gender-related duties" tossed in for good measure. However, my sister was interested in cars, and thus, grandpa taught her how to get under the hood of her own and tinker. I was interested in power tools and things that go WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRR when you turn them on, so grandpa taught me safety and how to use his tools for various things. In middle school, I received a better grade in shop than I did in home economics. When I was in high school, I was overly-interested in my aunt's computer, so for graduation, she spear-headed an effort to get me my own. My aunt goes hunting, and there are pictures of her bringing home deer when the guys she was out with came home empty-handed. I really was raised with an "Anything you can do, I can do better," attitude, and rose to the challenge when guys in school would declare I couldn't do something "because I was a girl", including AND ESPECIALLY taking advanced-placement physics.

A few years ago, I declared the living room needed rearranged, and our TV is a 2-person beast. Steve refused to help me. Instead of discouraging me, I simply went out, rearranged all the furniture /BY MYSELF/, then stared at the TV while I engineered a way to move it from one end of the room to the other /BY MYSELF/. I moved the love-seat to the entertainment center, carefully lowered the TV to the cushions, laid a blanket in front of the love-seat, carefully lowered the TV to the blanket, moved the love-seat back where it belonged and used the blanket as a make-shift litter to drag the TV across the room. I moved the entertainment center, then paused to reassess the situation. I was in the process (I kid you not) of devising a pulley system I could use to get the TV up onto the entertainment center when Steve came out to investigate the noise. He gave in and helped me lift the TV up when I told him I needed to run to Lowes for wheels, rope and some hooks.

That said, I joke today about things I don't like doing being "men's work" and pushing it off on Steve, but I rearranged the entertainment center last night and hooked up our last speaker to the surround sound system, with my own tool set (the one Steve has to ask to use for any given project). I still play video games, and am learning to program. I watch Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars and anime, attend Pub Quiz regularly and don't balk at leadership when it's needed. I knit, clean, cook, bake and also love football and hockey. I tend my hair carefully, and sometimes put on makeup and skirts, but only minorly grumble when I need to get on the snowy and muddy ground to put chains on the tires of our car. I'll dote on a cat in my arms, then get down on the floor and wrestle with a dog.

I'm a girl, I'm a nerd, and anything you can do, I can do better. If I were to be harassed at a conference, I would either shrug it off, return it in kind, or deck the harasser. The harassment wouldn't faze me one way or the other, though I might vent a bit later.

But, I'm learning that not everyone has had the benefit of this teaching, which is why this *needs* to exist. It *does* exist because harassment has been a serious problem at conferences, allegedly or openly. (Thankfully I haven't seen any at the ones to which I've been.) It's depressing that this has to exist; it's frustrating that we can't just declare, "Be righteous to one another" and expect it to hold.

I'm proud of Valerie and her collaborators, and hope that I can do something to help.
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Geek Girls and Sexual Assault
Seraphim: geek
fvinnash
I was reading over Valerie Aurora's blog and read about Noirin Shirley being sexually assaulted by Florian Leibert while out for drinks and attending ApacheCon. My gut reaction was, "I can't believe this! But, before I say anything, I really should read on and find out what happened before really committing to a reaction on this." Which was the ABSOLUTE WORST THING I could possibly have ever found myself thinking. I'm so very ashamed of that. Naturally, before saying/spreading/discussing, I *should* be in the know, but damnit. A woman was *SEXUALLY GROPED AFTER SHE SAID NO* - this is NOT OK. Ever. I don't care if it was in a bar, in a strip club, or in the backseat of a Volkswagon Beetle. When a woman says NO, IT IS NOT OK TO PUSH INTENTIONS ON HER. EVER.

I think what's equally as disgusting as what Noirin has already gone through is the overwhelming online reaction to her situation. She asked for it? What? It seems to me she specifically said "I'm not interested.". She's just crying for attention? As well she damned well should be! For crying out loud! A guy GROPED HER AFTER SHE SAID NO. She's ruining his online reputation? Awesome. More power to her. I hope I can help. It amazes me that in this day and age people will still try to blame a victim for something like this. Is Florian's reputation *honestly* more important than Noirin's *personal* rights? Some have been crying that he just made a mistake. Yes, he did. A big one. And in the process of making that mistake, he clearly displayed his personal opinions of women in general.

What this resolves in me is a more intense desire to be involved in the annual Debian Conference more intimately. Why? Because if someone decides they'd like a go where I have a stronger influence on the organization, their online reputation would be the last thing they should worry about by the time I'm finished.

I'm far too angry over this to be able to make a coherent post. Perhaps after I cool down, I'll be able to write something a bit more eloquent. Right now, the only thing that keeps going through my mind is FUCK FLORIAN LEIBERT.
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Pants Continued
Seraphim: geek
fvinnash
I have found a happy compromise in the pants debacle of my household.

I put them on, then declare it's No Pants Time when I'm tired of them, but have already succeeded once in the day of putting them on, thus, everyone is happy.

That is all.

Productivity
Seraphim: geek
fvinnash
I have discovered that Steve and I have clearly different views on what constitutes a successful, productive day. I have come to the conclusion that I must be a half-full type of girl (despite my last post) because when asked, "What did you do today?" I can pause, reflect, then answer confidently, "I cleaned the kitchen, did laundry and put on pants." and honestly believe all three events were COMPLETELY successful. Apparently, pants do not constitute success in my husband's opinion, and in fact, the success of pants was entirely and utterly rejected as part of my successful day. I offer the following explanations why I believe Pants are an acceptable, and wholly productive part of any day and should be celebrated as such, not dismissed as simply /expected/:

1) Putting on pants suggests you have left the comfort of no-pants, or pajama-pants, or bath robe, or whatever it is, and *chosen* to interact with the world in a way that demands conformity of either fashion or acceptable lower body wear.

2) Putting on pants indicates that you have cleaned yourself appropriately for whatever the day may bring. Sometimes this can be work! And for women (in many cases), the amount of cleanliness will dictate what form your pants may take; ie, shorts or capris require much more planning and work to ensure lack of embarrassment (it takes time to shave).

3) Putting on pants prepares you to meet any social encounters that may come your way - either if they come *to* you, such as someone calling to your home, or if you are to go *to* them, in the case of grocery shopping (which I swear I meant to do today).

4) To many people, pants are even a prerequisite for phone conversations. (It feels rather odd to be conversing with someone in a professional voice when you have a very distinct lack of appropriate attire.) In related news, the nice unemployment counselor I spoke with today is a Debian user and contributor. (I was wearing pants, and thus able to carry on a conversation.)

5) Choosing pants requires fore-thought, decision-making and conflict-resolution skills, especially when one is not simply wearing jeans. The ability to find pants that meet requirements for the day, are clean, don't look as though they were buried in a clothes basket (or suitcase) for over a week, and will work with whatever *shirt* you choose is a finely-honed skill, and shouldn't be rushed or dismissed quite so easily.

Thus, I contend that Pants is a very *prominent* and decidedly productive part of any day. Even the conscious decision *for* pants indicates a level of commitment to accomplish anything!
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Frustrations
Seraphim: geek
fvinnash
The awful part of being exposed to as much geekery, science and computer stuff as I have been over the last few years is when I step back and take stock of what my skills and knowledge are now (at a time when I'm wanting to change direction with my life), I have no idea what I can offer a company. I know it's Damned Good, and I know I'd be an asset where ever I end up, but damnit. I don't know what I can do.
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For my Geek Friends Out There....
Seraphim: geek
fvinnash
Any Googlish friends of mine that are watching know much about AdSense? Anyone I can ask a potential Abuse question of, and see if it is, legitimately abuse? I've been following an awesome blog lately, http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/, and she was using AdSense until some very recent problems she's been having issues with. One person suggested a potential for a malicious abuse due to some gaping TOS holes, and I'm wondering if they really exist.

It really would be a shame if the theories and suggestions about AdSense are going to tarnish Google's reputation. I kinda like Google in general and would hate to see a service of theirs run awry.
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Cooking Adventures with Patty: The Fun Continues!
Seraphim: geek
fvinnash
If you've ever wondered what it's like to go on a cooking adventure with me, lets take into account my complete inability to focus on one task into consideration. This usually involves me saying something like, "Oh. I'd like to make blueberry lemon muffins! I know I have blueberries and lemon juice, so I should be good to go!" and not bothering to look at the rest of the required ingredients until I'm well entrenched in the making of blueberry lemon muffin goodness. Sometimes, this involves creative substitutes, sometimes this involves a mad dash to the store (either by me, or my wonderful husband who never complains about having to dash to the store in the middle of a release cycle. really.), sometimes this involves an 'oh shit what can I do with these ingredients NOW?' and sometimes it's completely different because my inability to focus actually caused chaos in the recipe in a *different*, completely unexpected way.

Such as this morning. My goals for this morning involved making dishes for *two* social events I've been invited to. This is, like, almost a quota for social eventage in an entire year for me, so it's very important to me that not screw up either dishes. One is a girl's brunch. We have a variety of people coming, but the only concern that is taken into account is one of the girls is vegetarian. I now I don't have to worry about catering to her since there will be others, but I do because she's a friend and OH MY GOD what if NOBODY ELSE thinks about her and brings like bacon wrapped bacon logs or something and she CAN'T EAT and can only DRINK THE MIMOSAS provided?! See? It's very important for me to consider this. This consideration is important later. After about two hours of researching recipes, trying to come up with novel, but yummy, ideas, I finally settled on deviled eggs, because, dude. Deviled eggs. I went through my recipe last night to ensure I had EVERYTHING I NEEDED (actually forced myself to read the ingredients list), and boiled the eggs so they'd be ready for this morning and I'd only need to devil them. Excellent.

The other goal is for a craft-dessert thing this evening. Now, the hostess is actually dairy-intolerant. This is a new concept to me, so I was bound and determined to figure something out for her despite her assurances that I don't need to worry about her, and it's not necessary to ensure she can partake in the dessert, there will be plenty and there was more rambling, but I stopped listening because I was already planning to attempt a rice pudding with almond milk or coconut milk instead of cow's milk. (I'm actually a very good cook, despite the rest of this post.) So, I went through the recipe last night and was very careful to read the entire ingredient list to ensure I could substitute everything sanely. I briefly considered baking shortcakes for strawberry shortcakes, and even considered making a fruit tart, but decided the lack of cream cheese in the latter and the lack of whipping cream in the former would entirely ruin the dessertiness. So, I went back to the rice pudding, even pleased that we actually have GOLDEN RAISINS in our pantry.

So, I got up this morning, briefly played on the computer, then hopped in the shower to begin my day of throwing everything together. I'm fairly confident in my abilities at this point to put together two awesome dishes and have fun and enjoyment for the next few hours. So, after my careful planning the night before, I got to work. Now, I've made both many times before, so I felt I only had to be especially careful with the rice pudding, ensuring no utensils were cross-used, ensuring dishes were kept separate, ensuring that I focus on one while the other does it's thing (such as the deviled eggs sitting in the fridge). I was even proud of not even making a mess of the kitchen, which Steve generally disapproves of. Then, it dawned on me, "What if nobody brings anything sweet to the brunch and we're stuck with eggs of all sorts? What if we don't have muffins of ANY KIND?!" I dismissed it, thinking that I know a few recipes and I can throw something together easily at the hostess' house if demands are made. But, then I started worrying that would be rude, and what if someone WANTED something sweet, but didn't want to say something for fear of being rude and oh god, then someone would be unhappy and I could have solved it just by making fruit tarts, but no, I had to make deviled eggs because I was worried there wouldn't be enough fresh fruits and now my selfishness is going to cost someone their sweet tooth!

I dug through my recipes frantically, looking for a quick, easy-to-make muffin recipe. I came across a blueberry lemon muffin recipe that looked great, and hey, I have blueberries and lemon juice. I can do this. So, I set it down. But, not satisfied this is the PERFECT SOLUTION, I continue to look through the recipe cards and come across my coffee cake muffin recipe, which I made years ago, and it was really good, and hey, I should make that again. It was easy and went over really well. But, today, I think blueberries. I still have a lot from last summer in the freezer. Instead of doing the normal thing, you know, putting the recipe card back, I just set it aside because, well, I decided against it, right? but it's still a good recipe! And I carried the blueberry lemon muffin recipe card over to the Kitchenaid stand mixer.

I glanced at the first step (not the ingredient list, mind you) and said, "Ok. Flour, sugar and baking powder. 2 tablespoons? Wow. That's a lot. Huh. Ok, well, we'll just see." and wandered off to collect the items. I came back, glanced at the recipe card on the OTHER side of the sink and said, "Ok. 2 cups of flour, only a 1/2 cup sugar? Excellent. This will be easy to reduce later once I get the hang of this. Divided? Hmm. That's interesting. Ok. 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder. Odd. I swear it said 2 tablespoons. Huh. Oh well, I just misread it." and moved over to the stand mixer to begin mixing the dry ingredients per the recipe card. (Caught on yet, have you?)

So, I get the dry ingredients mixed, move back over to the recipe card next to the sink and start working on the wet ingredients, carefully following the instructions word by word. I get to the point where I'm supposed to mix everything together and I start wondering, "When do I put the blueberries in?" So, I skim the rest of the instructions. Nothing about blueberries. Blinkblink. I look back over the ingredient list, no blueberries. How the hell can you have blueberry lemon muffins without blueberries?! So, I look at the top of the card: Coffee Cake Muffins. Shit. I don't WANT coffee cake muffins! I want blueberry lemon muffins! Damnit, can I fix this? Where the hell is the blueberry lemon muffin card? Oh, it's by the mixer. Right, I remember putting it there now. What are the ingredients? Damnit all to hell, the proportions are completely different and now everything's mixed together and I don't have time to start over and ugh.

Hmm. I can add blueberries to the coffee cake muffins. Except, looking closer, the coffee cake muffins only called for 1 and 1/2 cup flour, but I put in 2, because I saw it somewhere else. Oh hell. Yup, on the blueberry muffin recipe. Well. Hmm. Nothing to be done, everything's mixed. Let's toss some blueberries in and see how they turn out.

So, now I'm waiting for the muffins to brown because I don't know exactly how long it's going to take the muffins since I MONSTERFIED the recipe, the kitchen is trashed, and I have 13 minutes to get dressed and get to the brunch.

Despite all of this, I have a tendency to produce some pretty wonderful eats. I just wonder how the hell I manage it.

On-line Photo Organization
Seraphim: geek
fvinnash
I've been using Gallery for years (because I'm too lazy to learn anything else) and I'm tired of some of the crap I have to deal with (namely, spammers). Anyone know of a better photo sharing organizer that I can learn fairly easily? I want to be able to do this myself, not rely on Steve or other geek friends to set it up for me.
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